This paper provides synopses of the design. implementation, and results of key high data rate communications experiments utilizing the technologies of NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS). Specifically, the network protocol and interoperability performance aspects will be highlighted. The objectives of these key experiments will be discussed in their relevant context to NASA missions, as well as, to the comprehensive communications industry. Discussion of the experiment implementation will highlight the technical aspects of hybrid network connectivity, a variety of high-speed interoperability architectures, a variety of network node platforms, protocol layers, internet-based applications, and new work focused on distinguishing between link errors and congestion. In addition, this paper describes the impact of leveraging government-industry partnerships to achieve technical progress and forge synergistic relationships. These relationships will be the key to success as NASA seeks to combine commercially available technology with its own internal technology developments to realize more robust and cost effective communications for space operations.